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Oxbridge Academy West Palm Beach, Florida
Head of School July 2018
The Position Since its founding in 2011, Oxbridge Academy in West Palm Beach, Florida has set itself apart as the progressive, holistic leader in the area. The premise of Oxbridge, as described by its founder, is refreshingly simple:
“Give students a very broad education with enough tools to be able to go to any college and pursue any career. Ignoring tradition and embracing reality, what is
the best way to teach innovation, self-reliance and teamwork?”
Oxbridge Academy is guided by the core beliefs that it should demonstrate excellence in everything it does, and should embrace students from a diverse array of socio- economic backgrounds, ethnicities, learning styles, and interests. That vision is alive and well in a thriving school environment—one of which parents, students, faculty, and staff are proud and happy and eager to be a part.
A non-profit, co-educational, FCIS-accredited independent day school, Oxbridge Academy currently serves over 500 students in grades 9-12. Located on a spacious campus in West Palm Beach, Oxbridge serves a wide geographic region of South Florida—attracting its most recent freshman class of 125 students from 63 different middle schools. The breadth and depth of Oxbridge’s program and facilities, partnered with the notable college placement success of this year’s seniors, belie the fact that only four classes have graduated from this six-year-old school. In short, Oxbridge has come very far, very fast.
As in any startup, there have been some missteps from which the School has learned and emerged even stronger. Today, Oxbridge is poised to move from a period of “institutional adolescence” to “young adulthood” charged with energy, optimism, significant promise, and a thirst for ongoing improvement. Under the able leadership
VISION Oxbridge graduates’ inspired love of learning will guide them to meet the
challenges and opportunities of the future in life, business, and world citizenship.
MISSION To inspire wisdom through learning in an
environment that fosters inquiry, collaboration, innovation, and personal discovery.
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of the current Head, who has been on the faculty since the School’s founding, and ever-guided by its “Students First” mantra, great things are happening here.
Beginning July 1, 2018, Oxbridge Academy seeks an experienced independent school leader to partner with a visionary Board and a strong faculty and staff to lead the School in the next phase of its life. This is a chance to have a real impact, to help shape the future of a school of tremendous potential, and move it toward its founder’s goal of being one of the very best schools, anywhere.
The School Oxbridge Academy was founded in 2011 by William I. Koch, CEO and founder of Oxbow Carbon. Mr. Koch graduated from Culver Military Academies in Indiana before earning his bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees from M.I.T. Mr. Koch’s father also attended M.I.T. thanks to the support of a generous benefactor. In a sense, Oxbridge Academy represents a grateful son’s effort to “pay it forward.” Oxbridge offers an outstanding financial aid program, with 43% of current students receiving some form of financial aid.
At its core, Oxbridge is committed to providing an experiential and engaging education to students from all backgrounds and cultures. Classrooms and learning spaces across campus were thoughtfully and intentionally designed to enable the school’s progressive, hands-on approach to learning. Faculty strive not only to prepare graduates to thrive in their post-secondary pursuits and careers, but to teach students to articulate their ideas clearly and take action to improve their community and their world. Students benefit from a wealth of unique and impressive programs at Oxbridge that position them to succeed in virtually any pursuit—from writing a novel to flying an airplane.
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A “culture of kindness” permeates all aspects of Oxbridge Academy’s campus, fostered by the school’s distinctive Honor Code, a collaborative and interactive learning environment, and deep, long- lasting bonds formed between teachers and students.
Academics The academic program at Oxbridge is grounded in a philosophy that emphasizes critical thinking and independent inquiry, and places students at the center of their own learning experience. Students are challenged in a core curriculum of English, mathematics, science, social science, and modern world languages. With 100 electives and 57 unique, college-level honors seminar courses, students are empowered to chart an academic path that suits their individual strengths and passions.
Grounded in the belief that students absorb and retain information best through hands-on activities and immersive experiences, the school embraces a modified project-based approach to learning. Teachers guide students through in-depth and often interdisciplinary projects that build confidence and self-direction as well as develop skills in organization, communication, research, and writing. Student performance is assessed based on project evaluations in combination with essays, exams, and written reports. Related to this project-based approach is a commitment to STEAM education, which Oxbridge expands to include Science, Technology, Engineering and Entrepreneurship, Art and Aviation, and Math and Medicine. Faculty are always seeking ways to improve their classroom practices and pedagogy, and a total of 15 innovation grants have been awarded to Oxbridge teachers to fund creative programs that enhance their project-based curriculum. This progressive, integrated approach to education provides Oxbridge graduates with the essential skills to thrive—the ability to think critically and comprehend the nuances of a complex world.
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The extensive opportunities afforded Oxbridge students to conduct independent research projects represent a defining facet of the school’s outstanding academic program. Students are expected to self-direct their independent research projects from initial envisioning and organizing through to completion. With the support of faculty sponsors, more than 100 students have completed such projects, and 41 students have completed or are currently in collaboration with professional organizations and nonprofits such as Scripps Florida, Ecology Project International, and the Florida Oceanographic Society.
The English program’s novel-writing program has grown increasingly popular since it launched four years ago. In conjunction with the National Novel Writing Month project (NaNoWriMo), Oxbridge students attempt to compose a novel of at least 30,000 words in 30 days. This innovative challenge teaches the fundamentals of fiction writing as much as the discipline and dedication required to see a large project with a hard deadline through to completion. Nearly 400 students have participated in the program since it began, and 44 have published their novels.
Writing & Reading Center
Oxbridge is the only high school in the region with a collegiate-style writing center. Designed under the guidance of the Director of the Writing Resource Center at New College of Florida, Oxbridge’s Writing & Reading Center (WRC) is structured
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around thirty-minute peer-tutoring sessions, where students can book appointments in advance or simply walk in. In an elective class called Peer Tutoring, a group of students are trained each semester to understand and support their peers through the multistep process of reading, thinking, writing, and revising their work with the aim of producing both good writing and good writers.
The Arts Every student at Oxbridge is required to study the fine arts during their high school years. The arts program is robust, offering students the opportunity to study various forms of dance, music, theater, and visual arts.
The dance program attracts guest teachers and choreographers to provide their expertise in upper level electives, and students are able to devote energies toward solo work and external competitions to earn a varsity letter. Music students not only build their skills in their chosen instrument, but they also develop an understanding and appreciation for music in cultural and societal contexts across the globe.
The visual art department exposes students to 2D and 3D art as well as digital design, instilling a love for the creative process in addition to a comprehensive knowledge of form, aesthetics, design, and art history. The experiential curriculum engages students through travel opportunities, visits to local exhibitions, participation in competitions, and lectures and instruction from visiting artists. Students showcase their work to the wider Oxbridge community at multiple exhibitions throughout the school year.
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Students with a passion for the stage can contribute to every aspect of a production in the theater program, which puts on three major productions each year. This is in addition to var